DUMMERSTON — Voters will be deciding whether a new fire station gets town funding.
"The West Dummerston Volunteer Fire Department would like to replace the station in the center of the village with a new station," said Select Board Chairman Zeke Goodband. "They have quite a bit of money saved already and they asked the town if the town would have a special town meeting to vote on raising the balance of what they think they need."
He said a petition was brought to the board and the board thought "the best thing" would be to have as many people participate in the decision. About $140,000 had already been raised.
A vote scheduled for Aug. 9, during the state primaries, will be conducted via Australian ballot.
"With the primary, we thought we could get a pretty good turnout," said Goodband.
The question posed in the article asks residents whether they will "vote to raise, appropriate and expend an amount not to exceed $175,000 through taxes or a loan not to exceed five years for the purpose of constructing a new fire station in Dummerston Center on land owned" by the fire department.
The plan currently involves taking out a five-year loan to help cover the costs through an increase in taxes over those five years if the article is approved.
"In the meantime, there's a fundraising campaign going on. The fire department and other people in town are trying to raise as much towards that goal of $175,000 as possible," said Goodband. "We made a pretty good start on the fundraising."
The idea is to demolish the existing building on East West Road and construct a new facility within the same approximate footprint. Goodband said the new station will remain one-story high but its length will be extended further away from the road.
Constructed back in the early 1960s, the current building is too small to accommodate newer trucks.
"They really have to get a custom-made truck at this point for them to still be able to fit through that building," Goodband said. "Trucks are bigger now."
The timeline is "up to the fire department, really," he said, adding that a contractor will need to be hired and the late summer vote might limit construction due to weather.
Support has been seen for the project, although the vote will be the ultimate indicator. The department brought plans and diagrams for the new building to annual Town Meeting in March.
"I think people are generally very supportive of the work and dedication of the members of the volunteer fire department," said Goodband. "I think that they've been looking at this over the last several years and I think they've done a lot of planning and research on this. This isn't some whim they just took up."
A meeting on Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Town Offices will feature information from the town treasurer about the loan. Firefighters will talk about the need for the project.
Tax deductible contributions can be made by writing a check to the town of Dummerston. The town will "hold it then disburse it as the department needs it," Goodband said.
Contact Chris Mays at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.